This biography of the trumpet great gives an intelligent description of the rise and development of jazz. Collier makes clear points about the relationships between blacks and whites in America, about commercialism and exploitation. Armstrong's struggle to the top is traced in well-placed detail from his poverty in a New Orleans neighborhood of tough honky-tonks, where he first hears the music that eventually carries him to Europe and the White House. His musical growth, from crude mellophone in the Colored Waif's Home to cornet in the cabarets of Chicago, from the ensemble syncopation of New Orleans jazz to the emotionally developed "West End Blues," tells the story of this American music and the industry that surrounds itan industry whose management excluded black performers while using their talent. Armstrong's brilliance is made clear throughout each episode, each musical era, as he moves above and beyond hardship and years of changing popular music taste. Musical vocabulary is well explained
Very basic overview of Satchmo's life, written with a younger audience in mind. In that regard it succeeds mightily, but if you're looking for something deeper, check out Laurence Bergreen's "An Extravagant Life," which fills in all the details. Still in all, valuable for younger readers interested in Satch and/or jazz history.